Nintendo’s popular Wii video game system has been increasing in use as a rehabilitation tool. It has been utilized as therapy for patients for recovery from strokes, surgery, broken bones and even combat injuries. Sports games played on the Wii are less painful and less repetitive than traditional therapy.
According to Wikipedia, Wii Sports has become a popular device for social gatherings and competitions. Residents at senior centers and retirement homes have formed leagues using Wii Sports bowling.
Some researchers at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, want to know if playing Wii bowling can improve arthritis symptoms. Their hypothesis is that the range of motion in the dominant shoulder (the one they bowl with) will improve, as well as the lower extremity endurance.
Three faculty members at LU, including Dr. Susan Lynch, Dr. Matt Lucas and Dr. Cathy Roy have been conducting a study involving 17 older adults, all diagnosed with arthritis, and all members of Dr. Lynch’s arthritis aquatics class. 9 of them are part of the group playing Wii, 8 are in the control group who are not playing Wii, but are still being measured.
The participants bowled for 2 hours every Friday afternoon from mid-January to April 4th. They followed proper bowling techniques while wearing a wireless wrist strap in front of a large television that displayed the results.
There is also a social aspect to the activity, similar to regular bowling. The participants sit around and talk, as well as eat lunch and snacks.
The results of the study will be submitted to a refereed professional journal.